This Will Kill You: The Magic of James Patrick Ryan
For those who may not recognize his name, James Patrick Ryan, “The Darling of the Geritol Set”, is a magic legend. To this day he is recognized throughout the world as one of the masters of close up magic.
For 20 years starting in 1933. Jim owned and performed at “The Magic Tap, one of Chicago’s legendary magic bars. The bar was frequented by the likes of Paul Le Paul, Johnny Platt, Matt Schulein and Ed Marlo.
In 1967 while visiting and performing at world renowned “The Magic Castle” owner Bill Larsen tried to convince Jim to move out to L.A. and become their resident magician. Jim politely refused the offer so he could stay close to children and grandchildren in the Chicago area. In 1977 the exclusive by invitation only annual gathering of the world’s finest close up magicians “Fecther’s Finger Flicking Frolics” instituted a “Man of the Year” honoree. The first honoree that year was Jim Ryan. His favorite thing to do in addition to performing was to share and teach his magic with those truly interested. Jim was also a teacher, mentor and friend to some of the best close up performers in magic including Tom Mullica and Paul Gertner.
I became a student and friend of Jim’s in the 1980’s when he was in his 80’s and I was in my 20’s. Over the next 10 years I would spend time traveling with, listening to and learning from Jim. He was my teacher, my mentor and my dear friend.
These lecture notes include some of Jim Ryan’s classic magic routines including “Ryans Dunbury Delight”, “The Twins”, “Three Cards Across”, Ryan/Leech Red Hot Mama, The Match Set (3 tricks with matches) Jim’s Bill Tear as well as several of his favorite bar magic/impromptu items.
My goal with these notes is to introduce Jim and his magic to magicians who have not had the pleasure of knowing him, to share some of Jim’s wonderful magic and to have a LOT of fun. That’s what Jim and his magic was and always will be about. I know this would please him immensely and make him smile.
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